Learn To Code Everything After This One Hour Course!
…is just a bullsh** claim! This is the truth about learning to code online.
As a young entrepreneur I often have business ideas that involve a bit of coding, for instance: make a website that provides X service, make a software that solves X problem or, so far my most delusional idea of all, make a video game and get filthy rich selling it.
Consequently, I found myself looking for ways how to learn coding. About 10 years ago there were only books and websites with boring and incomprehensible text, so that put me off. At some point I decided to enroll for one semester at the local technical university, but the professors there were worse than the books. I was surprised at why I seemingly wasn’t able to understand what was being taught, since I had always been pretty good in math, problem solving and new technologies.
For a while I gave up on the idea of learning to code myself. I tried to convince my programmer friends to do some coding for me but it only resulted in resentment and overall just bad results, i.e. bad code. However, in the last few years coding camps, video courses and interactive learning platforms started to trend. Filled with excitement I started learning a bit of Java and C++ on some platforms, but one language that really stuck with me was Python, because it was easy to read, easy to write and very versatile overall.
It took me around 3 months and 3 different courses (full-time) to feel confident enough to use Python. I thought: “Now I can do the projects I have always wanted to do”. And so I sat down to make the Website that I had planned on doing for a long time. “How do I do that?”, I asked myself, while staring at an empty text editor. I had no idea how to program this Website. I wondered how that could be after months of learning everything that I could get my hands on. So what was happening here? Why didn’t I know how to do it?
Learning to code is like learning the grammar to a new language. But you gotta learn the new words too, otherwise it is utterly redundant.
The biggest problem with online courses is that they will teach you only basic knowledge. You will learn how to set some variables, functions and some simple , so called, “libraries” , which help you with the math or special functions. But that’s about it! Courses show you how the syntax works and they let you do some simple projects which only require some “vanilla”-python knowledge. Some courses do show you different libraries and frameworks but brush over it rather superficially. That is understandable, given the sheer numbers and sizes of libraries and frameworks.
To give you an idea of what I mean, I’d like to illustrate my difficulties: As a practice project, I decided to write a code to scrape the web for my favorite comic book news (should I be embarrassed?). I had to use 3 different web-scraping libraries just to get the complete HTML code, another 2 libraries to overcome some bugs and then some libraries to be able to receive and edit images, videos and text. In sum, I had to import about 10 libraries into my code and I had to study each with their own unique methods before being able to use them.
So should you avoid online courses with ridiculous claims? No, I think some are great to give you a foundation for coding. However, you should manage your expectations due to the fact that the true scale of learning is often downplayed and not properly explained while the claims of some titles are also painfully misleading. Moreover, courses usually explain the basics only and you find yourself stuck between beginner and intermediate level. This finding is particularly frustrating and overwhelming since the learning curve is indeed quite steep and most beginners give up early after this realization. I hope that course creators will address these issues in the future and create better and more transparent courses.